Inland Rail Freight Services With Less Fuel and Lower Emissions

Frans Bal, J.M. Vleugel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Many countries have enhanced their air quality agenda (NOx, PMx etc.) by a climate change agenda (CO2 etc.). A direct way to lower these emissions is by using less energy (fuel) per activity. One of these activities is freight transport. Transport from supplier to factory relies on efficient and cost-effective means of transport. Road transport (trucking) is usually preferred. But, trucking is still very dependent on fossil fuels. It is also not suitable for bulk transport over longer distances. In areas without suitable waterways, rail is a logical alternative, but is has its own perils. This paper discusses options to make bulk freight services between Germany and France compliant with emission reduction targets. This leads to the main research question: Is it possible to design rail freight routes that reduce fuel use, emissions of CO2, NOx and PM10, while offering competitive transport times? Main rail corridors show signs of congestion and lack of resilience. It is then interesting to research if (dormant) regional/rural, non-electrified, rail tracks could provide capacity and increase resilience of rail services. Such services could also benefit rural economies. A literature study and conversations with a regional expert were used to develop a case study with a rail service using alternative routes. A model was used to estimate the fuel consumption, emissions and trip times of such services. The study indicates that it takes concerted action to achieve the intended goals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)170-180
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Production and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Cross-border
  • Economics
  • Emissions
  • Europe
  • Evaluation
  • Freight transport
  • Logistics
  • Policy-making
  • Rail
  • Road
  • Simulation


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  • Climate Change and Resilient Rail Freight Transport

    Vleugel, J. & Bal, F., 2022, Sustainable Development and Planning XII: Twelfth International Conference on Sustainable Development and Planning. Casares, J. (ed.). 2022 ed. Southampton UK: WIT Press, Vol. 258. p. 79-88 10 p. (WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment; vol. 258).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

    Open Access
    5 Downloads (Pure)

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